March 2-6, 2009 | Doubletree Hotel — Lloyd Center | Portland, Oregon

Welcome to GWS2009!

We invite you to join us for Rethinking Protected Areas in a Changing World, the biennial George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. GWS2009 will be a week of reflection, reconnection, and renewal in Portland, Oregon — one of America’s loveliest, greenest cities.

Every two years, the George Wright Society organizes Rethinking Protected Areas in a Changing World, the USA’s premier interdisciplinary professional meeting on parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. By these three overlapping terms we mean a broad array of places, both “cultural” and “natural,” managed by different entities under a variety of designations: parks at all levels; historic, archaeological, and other cultural sites; cultural landscapes; research areas and designated wilderness within national and state forests, grasslands, wildlife refuges, and other protected public lands; tribal reserves; marine, estuarine, freshwater, and other aquatic sanctuaries; private land-trust reserves; and similarly designated areas. The GWS Conference also encompasses disciplines and activities that support the work of parks, protected areas, and cultural sites, such as ethnography, GIS, and museum work.

The GWS is unique among professional organizations because our mission is to encourage dialogue and information exchange among all the people needed for protected area conservation. In recent years, 800–900 people have attended. Typically, about 60% are from the U.S. National Park Service and the conference program reflects this; in fact, the conference serves as the top-level meeting of NPS cultural and natural resource professionals. However, as noted above, the scope of the conference goes well beyond the U.S. National Park System to include other federal agencies, tribes, state agencies, NGOs, academic concerns, and park systems and organizations outside the USA.

GWS2009 is your chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues, make important new contacts, get up-to-date on the latest innovations in park management, and stay current with research findings in your field. With our broad range of program offerings — including thought-provoking keynotes, wide-ranging paper and panel presentations, focused side meetings, and field trips — the GWS biennial conferences aim to be the park profession’s best all-around training value.

GWS2009 will be the 15th in this series of conferences, which date back to 1976. Past conferences have been recognized as official training opportunities by various U.S. federal agencies.

We've created this website to answer your questions about the conference. But if anything isn't clear, don't hesitate to contact us — we are always glad to help. We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Portland.

Dave Harmon
Executive Director

Emily Dekker-Fiala
Conference Coordinator

Scenes from GWS2007, St. Paul, Minnesota
Photos courtesy Charles D. Rafkind Photography

DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript